Jaded Ibis Productions, A Recap

12 Nov

I have been following Jaded Ibis Productions as a part of my E-Publishing class in GWU’s MPS in Publishing program.  Below is a recap of my findings:

From JadedIbisProductions.com

From JadedIbisProductions.com

Rationale for Choosing Jaded Ibis:

I picked Jaded Ibis because they seem to be on the cutting edge in terms of innovation in publishing, and are doing something that a lot of other siloed professions do not: bringing in experts in other creative fields (like painters, graphic artists, musicians, sculptors and computer programmers) to help expand and push the boundaries of what publishing can do. I especially enjoyed watching Jaded Ibis’ digital offerings evolve from offering only standard e-books to offering dynamic, interactive book apps that link to referenced material directly from text, and have graphics that can be shaken around on the page and inter-woven with text.

I find their outreach/business model to be incredibly interesting and I wanted to see how that aspect worked with their Fall releases.

In addition to Jaded Ibis news, I also followed innovations in digital publishing in general in this blog, and I may continue to update with this information, though likely with reduced frequency.

Digital Publishing Strategy:

Each publication Jaded Ibis puts out is available in a digital form, either as a standard e-book, enhanced e-book or as a book app. They also offer a POD option, and interesting/varying physical forms. Many works are available in black and white or color print editions, while others come with more artistic physical manifestations, like chiseled into clay tablets, formed into 3-D art, hand-written on scrolls, or in tiny pieces inside a snow globe.

Each work is approached as a single project, its own work of art, not forced to adhere to any model that may have been used for a previous publication. Therefore, each has the possibility of being groundbreaking. While I was following Jaded Ibis, releases have included exhibitions in art studios, interactive book apps, books that redact themselves, and most books released come with a musical soundtrack to accompany them. All authors must be paired with an artist who works in a different medium, so all works are cross-media (or transmedia) works.

Significant Events:

Outreach: Jaded Ibis’ Publisher-in-Chief, Debra Di Blasi, puts emphasis on outreach by authors via traditional methods (interviews, radio appearances) as well as social media, and she (and authors) appears at interesting conferences and events. In addition to the art exhibit mentioned above, during the time I followed Jaded Ibis there were appearances at LitQuake, &Now, multiple events in New York City, and at swissnex San Francisco.

Technology: Jaded Ibis showed amazing innovation in the technology of storytelling during the time I followed them, as evidenced by some of their recent releases: [SIC], An Honest Ghost, Legend, and Venus on Mars, which is due for release in 2014.

Trends:

Jaded Ibis seems to be leaning toward offering more interactive options for readers. The publisher has enthusiastically incorporated interactive book apps, and dynamic e-books into its digital strategy. Jaded Ibis will continue to find new ways to interact with and engage new readers.

As interactive book technology advances, I think more authors in general will lean toward creating multimedia works.

Assessment of Opportunities:

Jaded Ibis is somewhat in a class of its own in terms of cross-media works. The publisher should aspire to fully utilize interactive book apps and increase the ability of the reader to manipulate and interact with the text. Jaded Ibis will do well to keep evolving, and finding new ways to interact with readers – and to reinvent the word “reader” to include more participation in the narrative.

Predictions:

This publisher’s niche will always be evolving, because they seem to shift the idea of what a book really is – perhaps they will be the first to publish a narrative truly written by the masses. Perhaps they will be the first to create a work with specific parameters and characters, and then publish with an open copyright to take into account a constantly-evolving, reader-driven narrative. No one has quite figured this out yet, and readers are often dying to jump into the story and direct the action.

Also, as mentioned in this blog, there is the advent of augmented reality storytelling and mobile storytelling.

Augmented reality uses geotagging, 3-D effects, holograms and animation to break down the barrier between the reader and a book’s content. Readers are part of a fully immersive experience as participants in the story, no longer a bystander watching adventure unfold, but in the thick of the action.

Mobile storytelling puts readers in control of small bits of a narrative, and they are able to share those short stories with anyone using the same application, usually within a certain geographic area or certain site.

Both augmented storytelling and mobile storytelling would demand writers and computer engineers with differing skill-sets to create a quality work, and each may be an awesome under-taking, but they’re something I hope to see, and almost expect to see, from Jaded Ibis in the future. These are the things I see on the horizon, and I believe Jaded Ibis will always work to harness the zeitgeist of the reading world.

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